Tip of the iceberg: Manny Villar’s and JV Ejercito’s alleged secret offshore accounts

jv_ejercito_manny_villarThe recent brouhaha over the linking of Senator Manny Villar and House Representative JV Ejercito to shady offshore corporations based in the British Virgin Islands is timely. The brouhaha surrounds a recent report published by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) of revelations following a thorough international investigation conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)…

The ICIJ investigation, of which PCIJ was part, found that Villar is the beneficial owner of a BVI international business corporation called Awesome Dragon Holdings Limited. It was incorporated in the BVI on July 26, 2007 while he was president of the Senate.

Villar served as Senate president from July 2006 to November 2008.

The ICIJ investigation also found that Ejercito is a director of a BVI company called Ice Bell Properties Limited formed on July 8, 1999, when his father was still president. Ejercito was then a nominee to Congress of the Kabataan ng Masang Pilipino, a party-list group affiliated with his father’s Partido ng Masang Pilipino.

Indeed, the Philippine Senate in the course of overseeing the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona last year had laid the groundwork for the development and implementation of measures to track down and stop government officials from squirreling away ill-gotten wealth into secret bank accounts both locally and overseas. In my May 2012 article Moving on after the trial: repeal of the Foreign Currency Deposit Act followed by a full-scale audit and investigation, I enumerated the following key premises comprising this framework:

(1) Understating wealth held in both local and foreign currency on the hallowed pages of the Statement of Assets Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) has been clarified beyond further debatability as an absolute violation of the law.

(2) The attempt made by the prosecution team to introduce information on Corona’s dollar-denominated bank accounts as evidence in the trial and then to get the Senate impeachment court to go as far as to actually debate the possibility of bypassing Section 8 of Republic Act 6426 (“Foreign Currency Deposit Act of the Philippines”) to allow the use of this information in the trial implies a clear legislative agenda over the next several years to repeal what are now evidently outdated bank secrecy laws in the Philippines.

(3) Information routinely gathered and tracked by the Anti Money Laundering Council of the Philippines (AMLC) can be employed by the Ombudsman to investigate government officials when banking activity and movement of funds that can be interpreted as suspicious are detected.

(4) Police action can be mounted and criminal charges filed on the basis of evidence gathered by investigations conducted by the newly-strengthened partnership of the Ombudsman and the AMLC.

The above four premises are nothing new. Indeed, the only hard and long journey required of us is to see the legislative agenda to reform the country’s bank secrecy laws through — a big challenge indeed for a famously forgetful people whose ningas-cogon tradition routinely dooms them to chronic mediocrity and flaccidity of purpose.

So while Villar provided what looked like a forthright response to media queries on his BVI accounts (admitting that he is “the ‘ultimate shareholder’ of Awesome Dragon Holdings Limited [but that] it was a dormant company with a capital of just one US dollar”), Ejercito issued a statement that merely skirted the hard question

To the best of my knowledge, I have truthfully and accurately declared all my assets, liabilities, and net worth in my SALN.

The timing of this so-called exposé is highly suspicious considering that I am one of the UNA candidates consistently on the winning list of monthly surveys done by different polling organizations, and that I have just recently barged in to the top 3 of the SWS Survey.

I have heretofore had high respect for the PCIJ. I hope that they are not falling prey to the manipulation of desperate people in dirty politics.

…the hard question being whether he is or isn’t a director in Ice Bell Properties Limited.

Ano nga ba talaga?

Well, so ok, if the past is the past then perhaps we might instead look to the future. And the future seems to be one that begs a relevant legislative agenda on the matter of politicians’ secret troves of wealth. Perhaps this is what the May 2013 elections involving the Legislative Branch should be all about — applying the lessons learnt and the precedents set during the burning at the stake of former Chief Justice Corona in 2012.

It is likely that all that has come to light so far is merely the tip of the iceberg of what may be a decades-long systematic concealment of wealth by politicians, oligarchs, and feudal clans transcending partisan lines and crossing branches of government.

Which of the candidates can fill what is currently a vacuous portfolio of legislative agendas with the real goods — ones that can potentially lift the skirt off what could be a vast institutionalised wealth concealment machine?

As always:

Abangan ang susunod na kabanata.

[Photo courtesy GlobalResearch.ca.]


Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

Leave a Reply

36 Comments on "Tip of the iceberg: Manny Villar’s and JV Ejercito’s alleged secret offshore accounts"

newest oldest most voted
Notify of

Regardless of timing and motive of PCIJ, Mr Villar and Mr Ejercito have questionable off shore accounts. Hopefully, the truth will come out.

Moreover, this event will send signal to the public officials to be serious on transparency.

Quoting JV: Like ko `to!

Johnny Saint

As long as we’re talking about government officials’ offshore accounts, might as well mention an old favorite — the Marcos family.

The ICIJ also disclosed that Imee Marcos Manotoc is both a beneficiary and financial advisor of the Sintra Trust, formed in the British Virgin Islands in 2002. She is also financial advisor of the ComCentre Corporation, also incorporated in 2002. Sintra was a beneficial shareholder of ComCentre. Other beneficiaries of the trust include her three sons with estranged husband Tommy Manotoc.

Neither of these companies are declared in Imee Marcos’ statement of assets and liabilities.

Johnny Saint

“…Ejercito issued a statement that merely skirted the hard question…”

I’d consider it a denial. He claims that the information stated in his SALN is complete and accurate to the best of his knowledge. Ice Bell isn’t mentioned in his SALN. JV is in fact denying he is a director in the company. His phraseology may make his denial equivocal but you expect a politician to talk out of both sides of their mouth. It’s practically a job requirement.

gersky arellano

Well for Mr. Villar he is already a well-established businessman long before he entered politics. In fact he is known before as the brown taipan. Having offshore accounts is okay as long as it is not taken from the public’s coffers. For JV Ejercito, it will be a different matter altogether. If indeed the report of his offshore accounts is true, where the hell did he get all this money? However,under our democratic system of governance, everyone is entitled to due process. So may request these two gentlemen to enlighten the public as to the sources of these funds?

‘falling prey to dirty politics’,HA! as if he has not? the ‘burning at the stake’ of the clown, who did not answer a single question at his trial, was anything but a ‘buring at the stake’.the guy walked away un-scathed and has never had to account for the large amounts of money he apparently had/has, nor has he seen fit to give any of it back nor explain the flip-flopping of the decision that affected the workers entire lives and how that decision was flip-flopped after a hefty deposit was made in his accounts. No, he answered not a single… Read more »
gersky arellano

In the Philippines as in some other countries in the world,business and politics go hand in hand. If you are in business you need a political clout to protect your business interests. And the reverse is likewise true: if you are a politician, you have all the chances in the wide world to dip your fingers to any business ventures you might be interested to invest in.


Any buzz of PNoy having a offshore account? Answer:NONE. Only proves that he is a clean statesman.


Wow Libertas and Johnny Saint, you deleted my comments. Does that make you feel and look good?

Johnny Saint

Methinks the lady [eduardo] doth protest too much

I apologize if I’ve offended your onion-skinned sensibilities. I did not mean to suggest wrongdoing without proof. That would be libelous.

Merely a reflection, I suppose, of the general mistrust real Filipinos have toward politicians, sycophantic propagandists and cynical influence peddlers. Perhaps if your idol had any form of achievement to stand on other than inconsequential, unsubstantial non sequiturs he would be above reproach.

Johnny Derp

Eduardo’s a bonafide twat.
The troll can’t even back up his posts with legit information.
You are a joke eduardo, TROLL HARDER


The thieves are out of control, have been for decades. It is more than time for a change, a complete change.
the old man who gave P1 million gifts to his like-minded buddies at christmas time, what happened to him? if I did that I would not get out of prison for 20 years. but that guy? He just laughs at everyone and gets away with robbing the people.
N e one still feel like voting? Ha, in a rigged election?

Johnny Saint

“Politicians disappoint us too much by protecting vested interests rather than the people. This is why politicians should serve two terms. One in office, one in prison.”



Hey there this is kinda of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or
if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!